Wine Bar War imbibes the UK

After 1500 votes were counted, the winning team was El Conquistador, led by The Savoy’s sommelier Erik Simonics, who will be heading to Chile on the trip of a lifetime as their prize later this year.

Wine Bar War debuted in the UK at the Imbibe Live fair in London last week. Having made waves in the US with two events (in New York and Miami), the pop up wine bar challenge made its way to the UK and opened to a crowd of visitors at the popular wine fair in the country’s capital.

Four teams of four sommeliers had two days to compete in making a pop up Chilean wine bar themed around the tourism destinations and wines of Chile, and had to battle to capture the attention of some of the 10,000 visitors to the wine fair. “It’s a great idea; something very fresh, very new,” said Ronan Sayburn, MS and judge for the event. “I’ve not seen any other countries doing this and I think that it’s a really good incentive. It gets a whole bunch of sommeliers really motivated learning about Chile, and putting in the research to pick some good wines.”

After 1500 votes were counted, the winning team was El Conquistador, led by The Savoy’s sommelier Erik Simonics, who will be heading to Chile on the trip of a lifetime as their prize later this year. The other worthy teams in the competition were Alto y Flaco (led by sommelier at 21212 Debbie Smith), Mosaic (led by Matt Cocks MS) and Mapuche Canteen (led by Sylwester Piasecki from Hotel du Vin). “It’s been terrific having Wines of Chile here with their Wine Bar War event,” said Mark De Wesselow, MD of Imbibe Live. “It’s been extremely innovative and hugely exciting for us to see an organisation turn the wine world slightly on its head, come at it from a different perspective and make it really relevant to people who are often quite young, working in the on trade in the UK.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 09.43.27“I think at trade shows like Imbibe live it’s always nice to try and do something original and something different and something fun and eye catching, and this is definitely all of those things but it also is a very clever way I think, of getting people to taste lots of different Chilean wines in one go together so you can benchmark them against each other,” said Jane Parkinson, a UK wine journalist who was also one of the judges. “So it’s great to see that, but it’s also great to the enthusiasm of sommeliers particularly for Chilean wines. For me Chilean wine in the on trade is no where near represented enough, so it is fantastic to see all of that energy from the sommeliers channelled through Chilean wine as well.”

“It’s been terrific having Wines of Chile here with their Wine Bar War event,” commented Mark De Wesselow, MD of Imbibe Live. “It’s been extremely innovative and hugely exciting for us to see an organisation turn the wine world slightly on its head, come at it from a different perspective and make it really relevant to people who are often quite young, working in the on trade in the UK.”

Congratulations to El Conquistador, and to all the teams and sommeliers that participated and made WineBarWar UK one to remember!

By Amanda Barnes

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